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CAO final hearing
#1
First time here on behalf of my son. Help please!
Wife got NMO and PSO ex parte claiming DV 18 months ago. Children 5 and 3 yo.
At the final hearing for CAO, father disproved all allegations with evidences during cross examination. Similarly CAFCASS officer was cornered fully.
Now district judge has orderehd to submit 8 page submission/statement from both sides
Question: why more statements and more importantly what should go in the statement. Feel stuck. Suggestions please.
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#2
So assuming the hearing was a fact finding and not a final hearing. And assuming the allegations have been officially found to be untrue, then the normal process resumes on to final hearing, as it would without the allegations.
So this statement for the final hearing sets out why your son is asking for what he's asking for. It should be child focused and show the judge why its in children's best interest to order what he is asking for. 8 pages is the normal amount but doesn't have to be all 8 pages.
Its important to make it about the children. The judge will have stated at some point [in an interim order?] what they want to consider for the final hearing so the statement should definitely tackle these issues with proof if you have it.
Its very very important not to bash the ex. However, if the ex has been unreasonable or blocked contact then you should explain it in the statement, show the effort he made to resolve it and submit texts/emails/evidence to back it up.
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#3
The statement for the final hearing is the really important bit - it's your evidence and it's the only thing that counts at this stage really, after all welfare issues have been dismissed. Mine was 8 pages broken down into headings, like history, recent events, current events, what I thought was the way forward to enable good relations for child with both parents, and then what I was asking for in an order. Because mine was already about 8 pages,instead of adding more in what I was asking for, we attached a draft order of everything wanted in an order, and just said request an order as per attached draft order, but mine was quite long due to historical issues, whereas some could be as simple as a few lines and still cover everything. If holiday dates are defined it can make it a bit longer (and it's a good idea to have defined holiday weeks with start and end dates to avoid arguments).

I read in a few places, that even if you're acting for yourself, it can be a good idea to get a solicitor to help write your statement. But am sure plenty of people on here who've done theirs will help you out and there are various samples online (for layout and headings but not content really as that's individual).

The thing to bear in mind with the statement is - it is your evidence and sworn as true, so you need to be 100% accurate in what you say. You will be cross examined by the other side at the hearing - ie they will ask you various questions and they will try and pick holes in your statement - so if you say something that is slightly incorrect, and they have evidence otherwise then it discredits you. It's a bit of a game played out in front of the Judge but the other side's motive is to try and prove you are lying about something. Likewise your side would be trying to prove the ex is lying. So if she contradicts herself in her statement eg. Also if she says all sorts of nasty stuff and untrue allegations (be prepared for a whammy when you get to see her statement!) then it is just classed as mudslinging unless backed up with hard evidence by way of documents.

As Naive says it's important not to say negative stuff about the ex and sound like you are mud slinging. Your focus in your statement should be about why it's important for the children to enjoy happy loving relationships with both parents and both family, and why they need an ongoing stable routine so they know where they willl be and when.

Having said that - evidence can help your case as to why you need the order you're asking for. Emails or text messages printed out can be used as evidence, as can letters from professionals (eg your GP, kids GP, school, social services report - whatever). So your statement might say something like. "I had booked a week-end away with the children to visit my parents (their grandparents) on 26th March, which i had informed Mrs Ex about a month previously (exhibit a). On the morning of 26th March, Mrs ex sent me a text message informing me the children were unwell with chickenpox (exhibit b) and were unable to come. On contacting the Childrens' GP the following week, it was confirmed to me that the children had not been taken to the surgery or diagnosed with chickenpox, and they had both had it four years ago (exhibit c). The children were back at school two days later and perfectly well. There have been 7 occasions this year when I have been informed the children were unwell and Mrs Ex would not agree for them to spend that time with me and they were off school. However their school attendance report shows no time off sick for the last academic year (exhibit d).

Exhibit (a) would be your email or text confirming the plans. Exhibit (b) would be her text cancelling the children coming. Exhibit © would be a letter from the kids GP and exhibit (d) would be a copy of the school attendance record.

That's just an example and it depends on your situation and the circumstances, but it may be there is one incident where you can show prevention of contact time, or prove she has lied about something. If you haven't seen them at all it would be something different.

The above shows why you need a defined order to prevent her doing things like that, because she'd be in breach if she did it which is a deterrant not to.

What specific times etc did you ask for in your initial application?
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#4
Brilliant responses. Much appreciated!!
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